RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina’s Pandemic Recovery Office failed to adequately monitor nearly $3 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds, an audit found.

State Auditor Beth Wood on Thursday released the 267-page Single Audit Report that covers the year that began July 1, 2020, and ended June 30, 2021.

One consistent theme through the report?

Understaffed agencies lacking the manpower to properly track the distribution of those funds.

The pandemic recovery office, a division of the Office of State Budget and Management, failed to review expenditures for recipients, complete separate monitoring for high-risk subrecipients, review their audit reports and review direct expenditures of state entities.

Auditors looked at 60 of the more than 3,000 subrecipients and found no evidence of the mandatory review of expenditures for 57 of them.

Auditors recommend that monitoring processes be designed and put into effect, including requiring that personnel document they be completed. 

In accepting the finding, the pandemic recovery office pointed out that the General Assembly funded it at half of the recommended amount, leading to staffing issues and ultimately those monitoring issues.

Also according to auditors:

— The Department of Public Safety had $1.2 million in overpayments of Emergency Rental Assistance funds after some expenditures were reimbursed twice;

— The Department of Public Instruction failed to accurately report data from the spending of COVID-19 relief funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund;

— The Department of Health and Human Services failed to adequately monitor $46.4 million in federal funds distributed to local health departments.